Lethe

Burnham attempts to rescue Sarek and learns something about their relationship, while Lorca has a relationship and then decides not to rescue someone! “Lethe” doesn’t bring up Mirror Stamets or the Tardigrade, but it does attempt to tell a self contained story that establishes some background to a few of our lead characters. Does it succeed? Clay joins me to discuss Burnham the Vulcan, why Lorca sleeps with a phaser, and why placing continuity before a solid story tends to be a mistake.

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Battle Lines – Ft. Modi

When Sisko, Kira and Bashir take Kai Opaka on a trip to the Gamma Quadrant, they discover a prison planet where the inmates are forced to endlessly fight each other. “Battle Lines” features Jonathan Banks in a stand out guest spot, and it also does a good job of examining some of the DS9 plots that have been on the back burner for a while. Modi joins me to discuss having good actors in your TV series, the nuance of Ben Sisko, and new information about the Bajoran religion!

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Choose Your Pain

When Captain Lorca is captured by Klingons, Saru demands that the Tardigrade be hooked back up to the Spore Drive to enable a rescue attempt. Unfortunately, Burnham’s suspicions about the nature of the using the Tardigrade this way are bearing out. We also meet Harry Mudd! Clay and I discuss the fifth episode of the first season, and we break down Saru’s use of protocols, lists made of fan service, and escaping from Klingon prison ships.

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Vortex – Ft. Modi

When an alien from the Gamma Quadrant shows Odo a shape shifting necklace, the DS9 Chief of Security begins to wonder if he’ll ever find another shape shifter like himself. “Vortex” is an interesting character story built around Odo, and it likely plays very differently for DS9 veterans and newbies! Modi stops by to discuss shape shifters versus changelings, long character interactions, and Vulcans in the Gamma Quadrant!

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The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry

In the fourth episode of Star Trek: Discovery, the wonderfully titled “The Butcher’s Knife Cares Not for the Lamb’s Cry”, Burnham settles into life aboard the Discovery and we get a closer look at the turmoil within the Klingon Empire! We also learn more about the Tardigrade and its piloting capability, and wonder if everything will come down to a “Devil in the Dark” moment? Clay and I discuss feeling lost in space, missing T’Kumva, and trying to solve the riddle of losing spore drive.

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Context is for Kings

Burnham gets a new ship, and Discovery gets a new start! When mutineer Michael Burnham is transported to the USS Discovery, she finds a ship full of suspicious and mysterious characters, led by the extremely suspicious and mysterious Captain Gabriel Lorca. Clay and I discuss the second “pilot” of Star Trek: Discovery, including vigorous debates about monsters from Doom, getting to know the crew, and travelling via spores!

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The Nagus – Ft. Clay

We’ve been clamoring for a deep dive into Ferengi culture, and finally! Our wishes have been answered! When The Grand Nagus visits DS9, Quark is pushed into a position of power in the Ferengi Alliance. But will those who would wish him harm win out in the end? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 as a whole, turning the Ferengi into mobsters, and how to find the best holosuite in your town.

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The Vulcan Hello / Battle at the Binary Stars

After twelve long years, Star Trek is finally back on the small screen! The first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery lay the foundation for an entirely new series, with new characters and new relationships, and adds a dimension to a long time Federation frenemy by introducing a charismatic new leader. And then… it wipes all that away and starts over again. Clay joins me to discuss the first two episodes of Discovery, “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars”. What’d we think of Michael Burnham? What’d we think of the new uniforms? Boy, all this concussion talk sure feels zeitgeisty! Star Trek is back, and we hope you enjoy the podcast as we boldly go where we’ve never gone before… into a review of a show that isn’t 20 years old.

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Move Along Home – Ft. Clay

When an alien delegation from the Gamma Quadrant visits DS9, some of the senior officers are trapped in a game where Quark controls the outcome! And Quark rolls some dice! Widely regarded as one of the worst episodes of the first season, “Move Along Home” is also one of Avery Brooks’ least favorite episodes. Clay joins me to discuss games without rules, improv acting, and how to make a story completely pointless.

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The Passenger

A sinister criminal sneaks aboard DS9 in the mind of Dr. Bashir! While “The Passenger” features excellent character work and further establishes the DS9 universe, it also features some horrible acting and an anti-climactic ending. The show continues to struggle melding its new characters with new story lines, and The Passenger is an unfortunate example of that issue. Join Wes as he discusses slow talking, using the transporter in surgery, and stroking Odo’s ego!

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Dax

Was Curzon Dax a murderer? And if he was, is Jadzia Dax responsible for his crimes? It’s the question at the heart of “Dax”, an episode that examines the ethics of the Trill while also giving our new crew a chance to interact. A court room drama with a sci-fi heart, “Dax” is also peculiar in that it features very little… Dax? Join Wes as he discusses an episode that feels like a DS9 episode, and relive the excitement of banging a sphere on a table, Dax’s decorating style, and the scars that never go away!

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Q-Less – Ft. Clay

Q makes his first (and only) appearance on DS9 in an episode that involves graviton particles and a woman who once had sex with Picard! When Vash and Q appear on DS9, strange happenings start to threaten the station. Is Q behind the chaos? Or is it something else, totally unrelated? Clay joins me to discuss DS9 in the shadow of TNG, the Quark and Odo relationship, and space jellyfish!

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Captive Pursuit – Ft. Trekspertise

When the first alien visitor from the Gamma Quadrant appears in the Wormhole, Chief O’Brien learns that sometimes you have to change the rules of the game. After meeting Tosk, an alien with a mysterious past who is being chased by the subtly named “Hunters”, O’Brien is forced to decide if he should follow Starfleet regulations or his heart. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss the moral relativism of Star Trek, chase scenes that go on too long, and the slow walk of Odo!

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Babel – Ft. Trekspertise

When a mysterious virus strikes the station, it’s only a matter of time before everyone will be speaking gibberish! And then they’ll die! “Babel” is a story that reminds the audience of “The Naked Time” and “The Naked Now”, but instead of losing inhibitions our characters lose the ability to speak… and tell a good story. Kyle from “Trekspertise” joins me to discuss plot versus story, diseases you should take seriously, and characters as McGuffans!

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A Man Alone – Ft. Modi

Now that we’ve spent a couple episodes learning about the station and Bajoran politics, let’s settle into some character development! While “A Man Alone” is technically an Odo focused murder mystery, it spends a lot of time giving us insight into the rest of the cast. And Keiko! Modi joins me to discuss the economics of the Federation, a Trill-centric menage a trois, and a Scooby Doo reveal!

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Past Prologue – Ft. Modi

We know that Bajor is in disarray, but what does that actually mean? In “Past Prologue”, a Bajoran terrorist boards DS9 and Kira is forced to decide whose side she’s on: the Federation or Bajor? In an episode filled with secrets and lies, we are also meet the character of Garak, who may or may not have a thing for young Dr. Bashir. Modi joins me to discuss character conflict, the nuance of Garak, and Bashir embarrassing himself!

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Emissary – Ft. Clay & Zack

After losing his wife in the Borg attack at Wolf 359, Ben Sisko accepts the command of Deep Space 9. A former Cardassian mining station in orbit around Bajor, DS9 is seen as a vital part of allowing Bajor to join the Federation. With son Jake in tow, Sisko arrives to find a station in ruins and his subordinates at each others throats. Does Sisko have what it takes to bring his house in order, or will he decide to leave Starfleet for civilian life? Clay and Zack Handlen join me to break down the pilot episode for DS9, “Emissary”! We discuss the acting choices of Avery Brooks, orbs in the shape of a peanut, and using baseball as a metaphor for life!

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DS9 Introduction

Let’s abandon our starships, and set up home base at a (mostly) stationary… station! The podcast is moving onto our next Star Trek series, Deep Space 9. Featuring what Wikipedia calls, “well developed characters, original and complex plots, and religious themes”, Deep Space 9 was not a super popular series but it has a special place in the hearts of Star Trek fans everywhere. In this introductory episode, Wes explains changes to the podcast (nothing major), the upside of DIY music, and why supporting the show on Patreon might be something worth considering!

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A Taste of Patreon: Event Horizon

With the podcast moving into DS9, we thought we’d give everyone a sampling of the kind of content you can get by supporting the show on Patreon!

Patreon is a website that allows you to easily support content creators you enjoy, and one of the perks of backing The Pensky Podcast is that you get exclusive content each month! In this episode, Clay and I discuss the sci-fi/horror film, “Event Horizon”!

Please enjoy this episode, and maybe even consider supporting the show by becoming our patron!

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A Taste of Patreon: The 10 Essential TNG Episodes

With the podcast moving into DS9, we thought we’d give everyone a sampling of the kind of content you can get by supporting the show on Patreon!

Patreon is a website that allows you to easily support content creators you enjoy, and one of the perks of backing The Pensky Podcast is that you get exclusive content each month! In this episode, Trekabout and I discuss the 10 Essential Episodes of TNG, as chosen by the authors of Star Trek 101.

Please enjoy this episode, and maybe even consider supporting the show by becoming our patron!

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The Star Trek Films: A Wrap Up

We’ve made our way through the 6 TOS films, and the 4 TNG films. We’ve seen the highs and the lows, the comedy and the drama, the Klingons and the time travel. Do we all feel a little bit older? Like time is passing us by? Clay joins me to give a brief overview of the entire gauntlet of Star Trek films, and we both detail our ranking of the movies from best to worst. The films are over, let’s move onto Deep Space 9!

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Star Trek X: Nemesis

The final film in the TNG franchise goes dark, both literally and figuratively! When a Reman warrior named Shinzon successfully coups the Romulan Empire, it’s up to Jean-Luc Picard to stop him before he unleashes a terrible weapon. But Shinzon carries a terrible secret: will Picard be able to overcome his own inner darkness to save the Federation? Clay joins me to discuss underwhelming themes, the utility of the B4 storyline, and saying goodbye to the TNG crew!

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Star Trek IX: Insurrection

After the frantic, action packed First Contact, Insurrection came along and decided to slow things down. Literally. When Picard discovers a plot to evict 600 Ba’ku from their planet in order to steal a “fountain of youth” technology, the crew disobeys their orders and mounts an insurrection. Clay joins me to discuss alien face lifts, the TNG crew telling jokes, and why the best Trek movies are the ones that are not very Trek-like.

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Star Trek VIII: First Contact

The Borg have returned, and this time they’re trying to destroy our past! When the Borg use time travel to try to avert First Contact, Picard and crew must follow them back in time and make sure that Zephram Cochrane survives to complete his warp drive experiment. Unfortunately, the Borg capture the Enterprise and Cochrane isn’t the man that everyone thinks he is! Clay joins me to discuss making films look like films, the seduction techniques of the Borg Queen, and yet another allegory to Ahab and his white whale!

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Star Trek VII: Generations

It’s time to move into the TNG movies, and we start with the polarizing “Generations”. A film that’s been disowned by its creators, “Generations” mixes TOS and TNG into one package while doing neither series the service it deserves. Kirk and Picard find the Nexus, Data gets emotions, and everyone else is mostly ignored! But, there must be some good stuff in here, right? Clay joins me to discuss time travel, not dying on the ship, and tumbling off a cliff!

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TOS Series Wrap Up – Revisited!

In this episode, Wes delays the Generations podcast by one week in order to discuss his final thoughts about TOS series and movies. He provides a breakdown of the much maligned third season, determines the best way to watch TOS, and responds to listener comments about the series. TOS is in the bag, so be sure to join us as we move on to the TNG movies!

Here’s the link to all the ratings for the TOS episodes.

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Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

We bid a fond farewell to the Original Series crew! In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, a Klingon moon explodes and the Empire is forced to make peace with the Federation. This seems to be a pretty good thing, until the Klingon leader is assassinated! Kirk and company must race against the clock to uncover a conspiracy and prevent the outbreak of war. Clay joins me to discuss saying goodbye to the TOS crew, heavy handed allegories, and killing people in zero gravity!

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Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Like Dinosaur Jr said, Sybok feels the pain of everyone and then he feels nothing! The Final Frontier is the directorial debut of William Shatner and a movie that is not highly regarded by neither fans nor critics. Featuring tubby actors, odd tonal shifts, and gods at the center of the galaxy, it’s a movie that feels unlike anything that has come before it (except for Dune). But is it really that bad? Clay and I discuss the fifth movie in the TOS lineage, and we break down erotic dances, jet powered boots, and movies that don’t know what they’re talking about!

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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: A Whale of a Time! The final part of the film trilogy that started back in The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home certainly feels different from what has come before. Featuring no real villain, our heroes instead go back in time to find an extinct species of whale that will be able to save Earth in the 23rd century. Light hearted and comfortable, it’s a nice change of pace from the drama heavy Khan and Search for Spock: but is it any good? Clay and I discuss plots that sound absurd, the best scene so far, and Scotty the comedian!

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Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

You knew he wouldn’t stay dead, right? In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Kirk and company hijack the Enterprise in order to return to the Genesis planet and reunite Spock’s soul with his body. The middle film in the trilogy that spans from Khan to The Voyage Home, The Search for Spock is also Leonard Nimoy’s directorial debut! Can it hold on to the energy and pacing of Khan? Does does it slide back into the passive drone of The Motion Picture? Clay and I discuss bad action scenes, Klingons as we know them now, and the new version of Saavik!

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